Research Centre in Public Ethics and Governance
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Freedom of expression at issue


Research project led by Julie Paquette, PhD, associate professor at the School of Ethics, Social Justice and Public Service and co-director of the Research Centre for Public Ethics and Governance; funded by the National Research Council Canada’s Insight Development Grants.



Current project: Freedom of expression at issue. Analysis of discursive issues related to freedom of expression in the context of the SLAV and Kanata controversy

Project summary

To examine how the various actors positioned themselves around the SLAVKanata controversy, we will make an inventory of and analyze the discussions published in Canadian and French newspapers from November 2017 to December 2018, with a focus on the meaning they give (implicitly or explicitly) to freedom of expression. This oblique perspective will make it possible to theorize about how the definition we give to freedom of expression underlies the position we will take on issues that arise, including the way this term can be understood, mobilized, even hijacked for other purposes. Exploring the different usages of freedom of expression allows us to compile a mind map of the complex relationships of affinity and power in place with this matter.

Publications: Three articles related to this project are being written: one on the different definitions of freedom of expression; a second (a research note) on the methodology used; and a third on the SLAV and Kanata controversy. Under the terms of the project, all the data collected via Zotero will be made available through open access.

Project leader: Julie Paquette is associate professor at the School of Ethics, Social Justice and Public Service and co-director of the Research Centre in Public Ethics and Governance (RCPEG) at Saint Paul University in Ottawa. She has a doctorate in political thought from the University of Ottawa (2012). Her research examines the critical thought of new forms of fascism based on the thought of Pier Paolo Pasolini and includes three areas: 1) new technologies and the mediation of algorithms, 2) states of exception, and 3) freedom of expression. 

Research assistants


Emmanuelle Sirois: Recipient of a Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship, Emmanuelle Sirois is feminist researcher in residence at ESPACE GO, has a doctorate in art studies and practices (UQAM) and is a member of the board of directors of Euguélionne, a feminist bookstore. She has degrees from UQAM, INRS, Université Paris VIII and ULB. She was visiting scholar at CUNY’s Graduate Center and research associate at New York University; she took part in the 2017 edition of the Mellon School of Theater and Performance Research at Harvard University, as well as in the 2013 edition of the ProArt doctoral school at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in Munich. Fascinated by the issues related to knowledge mobilization, she co-created l’UPop Montréal and, with Professor Julie Paquette, RDV art_politique at Usine C (now called RDV_ Art, sciences et politique). Her research explores 1) arts and politics, 2) the sociology of theatre, and 3) the study of scandals.


Henry Cortes Borrero: BA student majoring in Conflict Studies [he has since graduated] at Saint Paul University. Henry, who is from Cuba, worked as a lawyer in Havana for six years after obtaining his law degree at the University of Havana. After moving to Canada, he took courses in political science at Université Laval in Quebec City before getting a diploma from the paralegal program at La Cité collégiale in Ottawa.

Jean-Sébastien Leclerc: BA student in Ethics and Contemporary Social Issues [he has since graduated] at Saint Paul University’s School of Ethics, Social Justice and Public Service. He is working as an assistant at the Research Centre in Public Ethics and Governance. His research interests are freedom of expression, authenticity and the right to die.


Thalie Beaumont: BA student in Social Communication with a minor in Conflict Studies at Saint Paul University in Ottawa [she has since graduated]. She has a degree in Arts, Literature and Communications (media stream) from Cégep de l’Outaouais and is interested in various subjects, including new technologies, freedom of expression, global conflicts, various injustices and the media.